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Central Asia: Troops Return From Military Exercises

Almaty, 17 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL's correspondent in Almaty reports that joint military exercises involving U.S. and Central Asian troops have moved from southern Kazakhstan to neighboring Uzbekistan.

Our correspondent says most of the 500 U.S. troops who parachuted into Kazakhstan early Monday after non-stop flights from the United States have now left to return home. Only a small component of U.S. troops are taking part in the continuing exercises at Uzbekistan's Chirchik region.

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev called the exercises "a new stage of cooperation between West and East." He said the manuevers prove that forces from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan can cooperate with each other and with forces from other countries.

Russia, Georgia, Turkey and Latvia also are participating in the exercises, which involve some 1,400 soldiers altogether.